Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tag: 40 Beauty Questions

I love tags; they are probably my favorite type of thing to read on the blogosphere. It makes me feel like we're all sitting on the floor in a kumbaya circle and gabbing. Without further ado:


-How many times do you wash your face daily? 
-What skin type do you have? (dry,oily,combo)
Oily...I think....
-What is your current facial wash?
Biore Ice Fighting Blemish Cleanser (total HG)
-Do you exfoliate?
Yup, about 3x a week
-What brand do you use?
Lush Dark Angels
-What moisturizer do you use?
SkinMD, Johnson and Johnson, or Biore's Dual Fusion
-Do you have freckles?
-Do you use eye cream?
Sometimes I use Mario Badescu Hyalauronic eye cream.
-Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
Ohh yes. Look at the number of Acne-related posts I have under "Categories".
-Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?
Yes, but I didn't stick to it, so I didn't see improvements. I'm going to repurchase when I've hit pan on my current skincare routine.


-What foundation do you use?
MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation, Revlon Colorstay, or Shu Uemura Face Architect
-How about concealer?
MAC Select cover up
-Do you know your undertone color?
-What do you think of fake eyelashes?
Only used them on my wedding day, but I'm open to trying them again!
-Did you know that you are suppose to change your mascara every 3 months?
Yes, but I suspect its a marketing gimmick because my mascaras are fine for 6 months.
-What brand of mascara do you use?
Maybelline and L'Oreal
-Sephora or MAC?
MAC. Always.
-Do you have a MAC Pro-card?
-What makeup tools do you use in make up application?
Flat-top mineral foundation brush, eyeliner brush, Maxine's Mop shader, stippler for blush, lip brush for lip balm.
-Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes?
Yes, UDPP. 
-For the face?
-What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)?
I love pale pinks, greens, grays, silvers, and shimmery neutrals.
-Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?
Engraved for waterline, Fluidline Blacktrack for lid.
-How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil?
Only when I haven't sharpened in a while!
-What do you think of pigment eyeshadows?
I'd like to buy one and see if I actually use it.
-Do you use mineral makeup?
I did use Mary Kay before, and loved it for a while, but it tended to oxidize. 
-What is your favorite lipstick?
MAC To Swoon For (LE).
-How about lipgloss?
NYX Ice Princess
-What is your favorite blush to use?
MAC Intenso
-Do you buy your makeup on ebay?
-Do you like drugstore makeup?
-Do you go to CCO's? (cosmetic company outlets)
-Did you ever consider taking make-up classes?
Yes, I'm thinking this summer.
-Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
Just eye makeup. Rest of me is fine. 
-Name a makeup crime that you hate?
Messy liquid eyeliner and lipstick on teeth!
-Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones?
Neutrals for eye makeup, but bright pinks for blush and lips.
-Which celebrity always has great make up?
J Lo back in the day. I could never tell what she was wearing. She's just glowed like a Greek goddess. Oh and Aishwarya Rai of course. 
-If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item,what would you use?
Foundation. Gotta cover up those imperfections! I can always lick my lips.
-Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on?
Yes. I have to do it when I go camping, which is quite often.
-Do you think you look good even without any makeup on?
Yes, but only if I have just blow dried my hair.
-In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
MAC. A lot of product and quality for the price.
-What do you think of Makeup??
Makeup is for enhancing the good and downplaying the bad. A neutral, "naked" face is the best, but I also adore pops of color through colorful eyeliners, bold lip colors, or a lovely blush.

I tag all my readers to do this post. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tag: Things that make me go mmm....

Thanks to Khymm, I'm doing this lovely little tag on things I love to do.

1. Hauls: Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than a haul. Whether its a budget-friendly one or a wallet buster. I am happy for days on my haul-high as I call it.

2. Guilty Naps: what is sweeter than a 45 min nap you've snuck in at 6 PM? Yes, it'll throw off your sleep cycle, but its ohh so good.

3. The Office: This silly little American TV show puts a huge smile on my face. Jim is so cute, Dwight is hilarious, and Pam could be my BFF.

4. Comments: I seriously love comments from my readers. I get so excited when I see a new one.

5. YouTube videos: I can spend untold hours on YouTube drooling over hauls I can't afford, looks I can't pull off, and much more. It's escapism at its finest.

6. My husband: Yes, I know its cheesy. But we've been married for just over 7 months, and I am one happy little clam. (LOL I just realized reader comments and hauls rank higher than my husband)

7. Purses: I'm a bit of a purse fanatic. I don't have a huge collection, but I'm pretty happy with what I have. I tend to buy affordable, trendy pieces that I can guiltlessly throw away after a season so they're in good condition just long enough to sport a trend and not break the bank.

8. Clear Skin: I feel like Ms. Freaking Universe when I have a clear face. Gives me a big confidence boost to say the least.

9. Real jewelry: Maybe I'm getting older, but I've grown out of costume jewelry, and have set my sights on the real thing. I am partial towards gold and diamonds, and love getting jewelry custom-made in India.

10. My sis, mom and dad: My family is a comedy circus. Each one of us has our own brand of comedy, and when you put us all together, there isn't a dull moment. They rock my world.

I tag the first 10 people who comment to do this tag!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Veganism: The Exit Interview

As of February 12th, I had completed being a vegan for 43 days. Staying on this wagon was harder than staying on a bull at a Texas rodeo. But it taught me a lot. The benefits I experienced were amazing and unforseen. Within a day of being a vegan, I realized that vegan meals recharge your spirit, but never make you feel lazy. You know how after a big meal you have a "food baby" and want to laze around? That feeling was gone!

The second effect was the boost of self-respect. Since this was such a tough thing for a carnivore like me, I felt like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. And why wouldn't I? I was being a vegan in a very carnivorous country. Last but best, I looked slimmer. Though I only lost about 5 lbs, I lost my love handles and even fit into a pair of Seven jeans I had given up on.

As I neared the end of being a vegan, I did think about continuing. Ultimately though, I decided against it. For one, most prepared foods in America, like even a can of beans, contain at least a trace amount of dairy or animal products. To get around this, I shopped at my local Indian store and cooked vegan dishes on Sundays, and made these meals last all week. It was time consuming, but I could keep my promise and not go broke at Whole Foods.

Another downside of veganism was that I my restaurant options were severely limited to pretty much South Indian or Thai. If I was in an American restaurant, it was pretty much a chopped salad with some bread. I realized that I was neither full nor getting enough nutrition. It made more sense to me to pick a healthy, albeit non-veg option like a grilled fish, than an unhealthy option like a light salad and too much bread.

The thing that really put the nail in the coffin was my social life. Since none of my friends are vegan, if I went to their house for dinner parties, it was a struggle for them to accomodate my diet. Even then, they'd innocently spread a bit of butter on my bread or put a bit of sour cream in my soup. On those occasions, I was not about to be a d-bag and tell them to re-prepare me my meal.

Overall, veganism helped me lose weight, gain self-control, and more. But I don't think its a realistic practice for life. So for now, I'm living a life of moderation. On weeknights, I am still mostly vegetarian. But on weekends, I enjoy whatever strikes my fancy, and tend to mostly choose healther proteins like fish.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lush Godiva Shampoo Bar

I've been trying out Lush's Godiva Shampoo Bar for a month now, and have firmly decided that it's not good for anything more than a good long whiff, a bit of novelty, and fun in the shower. On the plus side, it has a heavenly jasmine scent, lathers up well, and has that novelty factor of rubbing a bar on your head. However, it's leaving my hair looking dull and causing quite a bit of breakage.
 The first time I used this bar, I omitted conditioner because I read elsewhere that this was a shampoo + conditioner. Not true. Leads to major tangles if you do that. So after that, I've been using Herbal Essences conditioner after Godiva. Although this reduced tangles, my hair was still looking dull and lifeless.

I'm lucky enough to have long, dark, voluminous hair that looks great with just a blow dry and no styling products. My drugstore gem, Organix Shampoos and Conditioners, give me shine, bounce, and no breakage. But in spite of good hair genes, Godiva actually managed to make my hair look dull and caused a lot of breakage. Sorry Lush, but I'll be sticking to my Organix henceforth.

Moment of self-doubt: it is possible that I need to experiment with using a different conditioner, because Herbal Essences is pretty low-end. Who knows, maybe with a better quality conditioner, this will make my hair look shiny and pretty. Will let you know if that happens.

The bottom line: this is not a must-have Lush item. However, if you are a Lush junkie, and want to try a shampoo bar for the novelty, go ahead. The scent is divine, the bar has adorable little jasmine flowers embedded into it, and it does lather up nicely. So your shower experience will be fun. But in the end, it may not give your hair the shine and bounce you can just as easily get from a nice drugstore product.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jealous, are we?

SamMakeup recently wrote this article, called "Is Blogging the new media?" I'll spare you the trite summary because this article has made its rounds on the blogosphere already. I encourage everyone to read this article and give Sam your two cents. We're a thriving community of outspoken consumers and we deserve to be taken seriously.

Beauty blogging is worth its weight in gold precisely because it IS written by amateurs. I value an amateur's opinion much more than a glossy review in a magazine because the amateur is probably applying a makeup or skincare product in much the same way as I am. In fact, magazine reviews often just show beautiful images of products with a small caption. You rarely read about how best to apply a product, what it smells like, or what is an affordable dupe. I also trust bloggers because most of our products are paid for out of pocket, and it is not usually our day job. Therefore, the review is more likely to be honest and fair. When an amateur dislikes a product, they are happy to warn their readers about it. But when was the last time you read a magazine article on a product that was rubbish, or clothes that lost colors after one wash? Why doesn't Glamour run a write-up on "Products you should stay away from?" We trust bloggers because we do good and bad reviews, and sometimes even have changes of heart. It's authentic, fair, and much more in-depth than any "clinical trial" I've read about in the glossies.

It is possible that the author came in contact with some bad apples at IMATS. Indeed, there are gurus out there with huge followings and I always scratch my head why because they completely lack authenticity. As a wary consumer, I rarely take just one person's word for how good or bad a product is. I make up my mind only after reading multiple reviews on the same product. I also consider whether the blogger has a similar skin-type as me, which would obviously affect whether I too would have the same experience.

As someone who has learned everything about makeup through YouTube and the blogging community, I can honestly say that I have almost never bought a reviewed and raved product without loving it equally myself. Thanks to the beauty community, I've discovered affordable gems and must-have splurges alike. Most beauty bloggers are honest, and our collective reviews save us all the time and money of experimenting with rubbish products. Until the professionals start talking about products they don't like, and do more in-depth reviews of a single product, I'll be sticking to bloggers to help me make my next haul wishlist, thank you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Make it Work: L'Oreal Volume Shocking Mascara

I recently bought L'Oreal's Volume Shocking Mascara not only because I wanted something more dramatic than Define-A-Lash, but also because it was deeply discounted from $15.99 to $2.99.

I find the packaging lovely and high-end. The blue side is the base coat and the black side is a comb for the mascara. I accidentally picked up Black Brown instead of Blackest Black, but no biggie since my lashes are already black.

The base coat wand has soft and fine bristles which get right into your lashes. The mascara wand is a comb and this design forces you to use a light touch with the mascara.

Here are my lashes with no mascara:

And here they are with Volume Shocking:

On the plus side, this mascara gives a huge amount of length and a decent dose of volume. However, there's a learning curve involved to apply it correctly. When I first applied this, I did 1 coat of base followed immediately with 2 coats of mascara. That led to a hideous spidery mess. The correct way to apply this is to use 1 coat of base, wait about 10 seconds, and then apply 1 thin coat of mascara. That's all you need. Comb away spidery-ness if needed. Even with all the care in the world, most days my look brittle and a bit spidery. However, at a normal viewer's distance, my lashes do look dramatically long, almost like falsies. Another downer is that its too much trouble to put this on my lower lashes, so I'm using Define-A-Lash for that.

This post is aptly named "Make it work" because that's what Volume Shocking demands of you. You can use this drugstore mascara to achieve epic length and decent volume, but it takes care and time to apply.

Bottom line: I will use it up, but would not purchase, and would recommend you to go with it only if you to find it for a sweet deal.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nine steps to romance

When I implemented a few Feng Shui practices to invite romance into my life 3 years ago, I met my now-husband within a month. Feng Shui is always easy and almost free, since you just need to re-arrange, add, or remove things you already own. In light of Valentine's Day, I'd like to share these tips with you. Whether you're single and looking for love, or you're in a relationship and want it to blossom even more, these tips apply to everyone.

1. Clear the clutter in your home, especially bedroom. A clutter-free home invites new and exciting adventures into your life, including a new love.

2. In keeping with #1, discard all items that remind you of past relationships. Holding on to the past prevents you from meeting someone new, or from making the most of your current relationship. The act of discarding mementos of old flames is the single most effective move in my opinion.

3. Add elements of red or pink to your bedroom, and decorate in multiples of 2. For example, have 2 flowers, 4 pillows, etc. No need to go painting the whole room red b/c that's actually too stimulating.

4. Avoid pictures of relatives in your bedroom. This is not a room to think of grandma!

5. Avoid electronics in the bedroom (I can feel everyone frowning at me!). I too am guilty of Internet surfing in bed, but it's really a no-no. Electronics prevent a restful sleep and take away focus from your partner.

6. Do not store stuff under your bed; it leads to restless nights and is "emotional baggage". I don't care if you live in a small apartment in NYC! Don't do this!

7. Don't keep one side of your bed up against a wall. This means there is only one way to exit the bed, and that deters a second person from entering your life.

8. Plants, music, and crystals are all positive elements to have in your room (hmm, crystal chandeliers anyone?) Fake plants are fine as long as they are dust-free.

9. Above all, have a positive attitude. If you're looking for love, don't be frustrated and cynical. If you're in a relationship, be cheerful, supportive, and always talk through problems without bringing up the past. A positive attitude is what enables all the previous tips to do their magic.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! My Valentine is not only my husband, but my sister, my parents and all of you wonderful readers. Ok mushyness is now over. ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Drugstore Haul: L'Oreal mascara and NYX

Last week I wandered into a non-chain beauty store after work and went on a fairly impulsive haul. This place had insane sales, and it stocked NYX. Since the only place near my house is no-sales-no-variety Target, I was pretty stoked. This store also stocked oodles of Essie and OPI, and they were discounted to like $5.99! Considering that, I think I behaved by only buying these 4 things:

Top to bottom: L'Oreal's Volume Shocking mascara (snagged for $2.99, with original price of $15.99!); 2 NYX jumbo eye pencils in Yogurt and Milk. So far, I love Milk. Its a nice matte base for light eyeshadows and also makes a great highlighter for the browbone and inner corner. Lastly, I got an NYX Goddess of the Night lipgloss in a bronzey-coppery color. I'm already in love with my Ice Princess, which is a sheer pink.

Here are swatches of all 3 NYX products:
L-R: Goddess of the Night lipgloss (sorry forgot name!), Milk, Yogurt

Reviews and possibly EOTDs soon to follow using these products!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Coconut Oil as an Eye Makeup Remover?

"Well, your wife has done it again." I bragged to my husband. I'd found a way to use the coconut oil I had lying around the house to effectively remove my eye makeup (saving money = victory dance).

I use coconut oil as a weekly treatment for my hair. Since I had recently run out of eye makeup remover, I got to thinking: if coconut oil can condition hair, keep it thick, soft, and dark, and remove excess sebum...that sounds like a great recipe for eyelashes too!

I tested my theory using Dabur Vatika Enriched coconut oil ($2.99 from the Indian store!). Besides coconut oil, it also contains herbs to further nourish your hair. For example, it contains soya extract to promote hair growth, brahmi for shine, henna for volume, lemon for removing dead skin cells, and rosemary for softening. Not to mention the smell is divine. Not bad for $2.99 right?

Here's my eye with tons of eye makeup (I used stubborn products like Fluidline, Powerpoint, UDPP, NYX JEPs and waterproof mascara. The e/s is from the Kat Von D Ludwig palette):

And here it is after using coconut oil (Woohoo! Not only was it clean, but my lids felt baby soft!):

Since coconut oil is solid at room temp and hence hard to squeeze out of a bottle, I depotted it into an empty Lush jar. This way I could easily dip my cotton balls into it and the top layer of the coconut oil was liquid:
I for one am done buying expensive makeup removers. Coconut oil removes everything quickly and thoroughly and leaves my eyelashes and lids feeling baby soft. I have a feeling we will be very happy forever.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: MAC Intenso

I'm no longer a MAC mineralized virgin! I recently bought MAC Intenso from CCO and have been trying it out for a few weeks now. It looked so irresistable on the shelves and once I swatched it, I knew it was coming home with me (the normal CCO discount of $5 didn't hurt either). I'd describe Intenso as a peachy/rose with a lot of gold running through it.

This blush is quite different from anything else in my collection. I have matte blushes from Coastal Scents, and Dream Mousse blushes by Maybelline. With those, I just need a light touch to get the color payoff I need, and I usually use a stippling brush for them. However, with this, a light hand will only give you gold specks on your cheeks. So I build several layers with a contouring brush before getting the payoff I want, and then this is the final result:
Applying this blush is almost fool-proof. You can't apply too much (though you can apply too little), and no matter what brush you use (contouring or stippler), you'll never get a streak of color; it'll always look diffuse and airbrushed. 

Having said that, there IS quite a bit of gold on this. It can work in the daytime, but I'd stay away from it if I was wearing very heavy eye makeup. I'd say this looks utterly stunning with neutral defined eyes and peachy, dewy lips. Its just the right flush for a youthful, natural look.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My first EOTD feat. Sleek Graphite!

After writing up my previous post called "Can Sleek Graphite work for tan skin?", a lot of you guys requested for me to do a look using this palette. Without further ado, here's what I came up with for my first EOTD:

#1 used all over lid and just below the lower lashline
#2 used on outer corner to create the V
#3 used to set my pencil liner on waterline using the sponge tip applicator

 The basics:
Base: Urban Decay Primer Potion
Waterline: MAC Powerpoint Engraved
Gel Liner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrak 
On browbone: a random Coastal Scents nude matte blush
Mascara: Maybelline Define-A-Lash Lengthen

I hope you guys liked my very first EOTD. I don't consider myself an expert with eye makeup, but blogging about it is going to make me practice more!